Friday, March 20, 2009


Four days, spring skiing, good friends....I had an awesome little get away. It was my first time away from Jack and I think I did ok. I missed both my men but it was so nice to have a break. I went to Aspen with very dear friends who I traveled with years ago. We had a ski in/ski out condo at the base of Snowmass. The weather was beautiful - you can't beat spring skiing. I got a wonderful massage, sat in the hot tub, had a night drinking tequila with some college guys! ( i was the loser Mrs. Robinson!) It was so relaxing which is just what I needed to gear up for IVF.

John also had a great four days bonding with Jack. I think it was so good for both of them. In fact, Jack would not come to me when I got home! not really the homecoming I had dreamt of, but it was nice to see him want his Daddy and hold him around the neck. I think we both got a feeling of what the other's day to day life is like.

Here are some pics!


Good FriendsApres Ski

Reliving my College Days!


Well...I had a blood test and ultrasound on Wed and everything looked great, so I started the Gonal (fertility drug). So now I am on two shots a night, both easy, and in my belly. I get my first ck up on Monday to see how I am responded to the drugs. Most likely, I will be on the stimulating drugs for 10 days which puts us right around next weekend for extraction. It is all starting to happen fast, hard to believe I may be pregnant by Easter! I am trying to keep a positive attitude while being realistic. I am continuing the acupuncture, I have an appointment tomorrow - where she will help with Egg development and lining. I imagine there has to be something said for Eastern medicine, it's been around long enough. I have good vibes around all of this, maybe because I have Jack and the "pressure is off" so to speak, I just think this will work and we will have another baby. So c'mon ovaries let's get some eggs going!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

God's hand

When i was walking down the adoption path, and started to be really open about it, everywhere I turned, someone was connected to adoption. My Father's nurse when he was dying walked in on me sobbing one day and I confessed my heart about everything included this journey we were on trying to adopt - and she said: "that's awesome, I'm adopted!" My good friend from NYC gently reminded me that she too was adopted. One of my Dr.'s said to me: "Adoption....that is how I came to my family!" God continually put people in my life that affirmed our decision, and supported us along the way. It is always better to feel you are walking along side people, instead of alone.

Now that we are full force into IVF (just gave myself a shot) everywhere I go, people start to talk to me about fertility. Most of the women I have encountered lately, that I hadn't known before are doing it, have done it, or have children from it. And each time I ask the same questions, (transfer one or two? do the shots in the rear hurt? does Lupron make you crazy?!) I am relegated with stories, given affirmation, and offers of support. Here's God's hand once again.

Why do I have such a hard time seeing what it right in front of me? That my faith and my God truly walk beside me? I was in my MOPS meeting (christian woman's group) and we were talking about how we all feel that we fall short when it comes to our faith. That we have - well speaking for myself, that I have such a hard time to keep God in the center of my life. He is gently nudging me all the I walk or stumble along this path God keeps putting people in my life to support me. I suppose it's the closet thing he can offer.

I am thankful, and I do find peace and solace in hearing other peoples stories of struggle or success. There is truly something about not walking alone.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

IVF - Phase 2

Shots start tonight! These are the easy ones - in the belly or thigh -sub-cutaneous. I need to learn how to give them to myself because I am leaving for...ASPEN on Sat. Looking forward to 4 days with friends skiing and relaxing. It will be my first time away from Jack for so long!

If I panic and can't give myself the shots, I'm sure one of my friends will be able to. There shouldn't be too many side effects of this drug. This is to suppress my system so that I don't ovulate. When I get back I will start the fertility drugs.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The infertility train...part 2

Well, after swearing up on side and down the other that i would NEVER do IVF.....i'm doing IVF.

After a lot of talking, crunching numbers and praying we decided that IVF would be the best way for us to try for baby #2. After talking to our agency and realizing that we had to start everything all over (paperwork, fingerprints, writing checks) even though they never placed us with a baby - we were annoyed and frustrated. Aside from the fact that financially we just don't have another 25,000 dollars to adopt again right now. Sure we could pull savings and cash in some stuff but after calling our insurance and realizing that IVF at John's hospital would be pretty much free - we just couldn't risk draining our savings, especially in these economic times.

I feel like i made the decision and hoped on the train blindly. It does seem like a different ride this time though. We have Jack, and he is amazing, so the pressure of that crushing desire to have baby is a bit dissipated. We want Jack to have a sibling, and we want another child, but if it takes a while or doesn't happen through IVF, we will adopt again. We at least had to give this a chance.

So - after a morning of meetings, blood test and some measuring of my uterus which sent me to the ceiling- with the Doctor asking "are you ok?" feels like you jammed your stick through my uterus so it's a good thing you are measuring it for future reference. We are ready to go. We have decided for the time being to have SET (single embryo transfer) - unless there are some other circumstances once we have a retrieval that would point us to transferring two. I do not want twins. At all. Of that i am sure, so if it takes a few more months to work, i'm ok with that.

When John walked in the door with a huge bag and box of all my medication and supplies the reality hit. There are still times I question all of this - but way down deep there is a tiny flicker of hope that I buried so long ago - a hope that I might get to be pregnant, feel a baby inside me. The idea of it astoinishes me. I might get that moment - you know the one in the hospital where you look horrible and everyone comes to see you and tells you how amazing you look and you sit holding your baby and your just beaming. Husband by your side, family all around -and I get to add to that fantasy now - my beautiful son clamoring to get on the bed to see his baby brother or sister and hug his mama. That picture alone brings tears to my eyes. To think I might be blessed with that moment and the all the moments ahead as a family of four - is just too much to hope for right now.

Now - I just want to get through the progesterone shots in the ass without being a big baby.

So the schedule: though I was suppose to start shots March 1 - I put everything off by a few days so that I could still go on my trip to Aspen on March 14. I am spending 4 days with wonderful friends skiing and relaxing - my first time away from Jack for longer than 2 days. I am looking forward to using the time to really prepare myself mentally for this journey ahead. I will sleep, read, relax, ski, drink great wine, meditate and just prepare. Then....

March 8 - Start Lupron
March 18 - First u/s & blood - if everything looks good - start Gonal (stimulating drug)
March 22 - Check up u/s - adjust meds if necessary
March 25-April 1 - Retrieval
3-5 days later - Transfer

We will know by Easter this first time if we are pregnant or not. New year of fertility, new life, new chances....

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

What a difference a year makes!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"I'm coming home...."

The morning after our first meeting we meet K & S for breakfast, had some more time with Jack, and then headed home with promise of contacting attorneys and being back as soon as we could. On that long drive back to Chicago, my arms already felt incredible empty and longed to hold Jack again.

The next week was filled with dealing with attorneys and doctors, getting all the paperwork together, putting the nursery back together (!), and packing up to head back. Once we had the go ahead from both attorney's we headed back to Ohio. We left on a Mon and the plan was for K to sign the paperwork on Tuesday. When we got to Ohio we went straight to K's and Jack was back in our arms. I had some time to talk to K one on one about some concerns that were weighing on my heart. I wanted to be sure that this was her decision and she was comfortable and confident with it. I told her that if she wanted to parent that we would not abandon her, but help her find resources to be the best Mom she could be. She told me she was certain that this is what she wanted. I was so happy that she got to parent Jack for 8 weeks. I think that helped her not only bond with him, but also cement her decision. We hugged and I told her that our adoption would always be open, that it is important to us that Jack know his birth family.

The week didn't go exactly as planned, signing day was postponed because it came out that Jack was 1/16th Native American, and we needed to get tribal clearance. What!?!? Seriously, I was freaking out, because if there was proof of a connection to a tribe we would have to petition that tribe for his adoption. Was everything unraveling? When we arrived Monday, K & S asked us to take Jack with us back to the hotel. I think they were ready to start to let go and wanted us to have time to bond with him. I can't even describe that first night in the Comfort Inn, John and I spent hours just staring at Jack on the bed, in complete shock that within days Jack would legally be ours. We had a lot of firsts the few days - our first sleepless night, our first bath with him, first trip to target, people stopping us to see him. It was incredibly amazing and surreal at the same time. Just a week or so earlier, we were still waiting, and had no baby, and now here were at the bookstore strolling our son around. I was still a bit cautious as the paperwork hadn't been signed yet, but each hour, each minute I spent with him, my heart filled with a love I never understood or thought possible.

Finally we had clearance, and the court date was schedule for February 15th. We ended up driving with K & S to the courthouse and we dropped them off with Jack so that they could sign all their paperwork. John and I sat at a McDonald's waiting to get the call we could come back. I remember being so terrified K would change her mind, 4 short days Jack had been with us and I couldn't imagine losing him. I looked at John and said: are we seriously sitting at a McDonald's waiting to find out if we are going to finally be parents??? Then the phone rang....

It was the attorney, and she told us K had signed everything and it was our turn to come and sign. We were taken to a separate room to go through all the paperwork, I just kept signing my name over and over again....knowing right next door was now officially OUR SON! When we were through we went into the other and just hugged and cried with K & S. I knew in my heart that as I was filled with joy, this was a day of sadness too for people we had come to love.

We all went to lunch together, and I gave K a charm bracelet that I will add to each year from Jack. We talked about what open adoption meant to each of us, and the expectations and commitments around our life long relationship. It truly was a day of celebration, and I truly believe that K was happy in her decision.

The next day K and her family and friends threw Jack a going home party. It was the amazing, gracious, awesome gift they could have given us. They not only completed our family, their made us a part of theirs. There was food, friends, gifts, four-wheeling, and through it all baby Jack slept peacefully in all of our arms.

It took 10 more days in Ohio to get clearance to come home. We spent time with K, and her family. Jack had a procedure at the Cleavland Clinic for his heart and K stayed with us and Jack at the hospital, we had the last few days alone in Cleveland which was so wonderful to be just the three of us for awhile. All through the time in Ohio, everytime we turned on the radio, Daughtery's song: I'm coming home came on. It became our song with Jack - and truly as we finally hit the road with interstate clearance - the song came on once more. As we crossed the Ohio border, we sang along, all the while Jack slept peacefully in the back. We were going home, finally, as a family of three.

At the hotel watching Sports Center with Daddy
First Pediatrician appointment

Signing Day - It's Official!

**I hope to blog someday about open adoption becuase it has truly been a blessing in our life. This story is obviously told from my perspective and I recgonize that K and her Mom S had very strong feelings about this process as well. Throughout it all we respected where they were emotionally and what needed around this major change. They loved, cared for, and parented Jack for 8 weeks, and I couldn't imagaine a situation any better than that for Jack, and for all us.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Meeting Jack

I feel like this story is so hard to tell. Each time I read through what I've already written I realize I have missed so many details. I hope to get it completely down one day for Jack. it is one year since we went to meet Jack, I can't believe how fast it has gone and what an amazing year we have had. And now the final chapter to Jack:

It was a seven hour drive to Ohio to meet S, K and Jack. John and I made small talk, I slept, we listened to the radio, not really wanting to talk about the enormity of this visit and what it meant. Though K had already decided that she wanted us to parent her baby - we had been down that road just a few months before and 12 hours before placement of D, her mother changed her mind. I was cautiously optimistic but my heart was definitely guarded. For John I think his reservations had more to do with Jack's heart condition and how he healthy he would be. Not that he wouldn't want him with his condition but there were so many possibilities of different issues.

The plan was to meet at a restaurant/truck stop cafe. It would be K, here mom S, S's boyfriend and the cousin that sent the email that started it all. We arrived and they were all there already. I remember hugging everyone and though I was overwhelmed, I instantly felt comfortable with them. As we shared breakfast we talked and got to know one another, it sort of feels like an audition but K & S were so warm and confident and funny - our personalities just meshed. We had brought a gift for Jack and they in turn had a gift for us. When I opened it, I was shocked. It was one of those pillows that you can put a baby's' name, DOB, weight etc...The name was listed as Jaxon Lawrence Ancona (we had decided to keep the first name that K picked out because we loved the name Jack, and they agreed to let us change the middle to my Father's Lawrence, since he had passed away) and on the bottom it said: Proud Parents: John and Dianne Ancona. It was so incredible to see in print. In heart though, I was still cautious, this was just the first meeting and anything could happen. From there, they asked if we wanted to meet Jaxon. We drove to their friends house where he was and I had the most surreal experience of my life. We are standing in the middle of this living room, with all of these people (these strangers) looking at us and S says, do you want to hold your son? My son? really? So there we stood holding Jack, who for eight weeks was still so tiny, and every picture I have this look on my face like a deer in the headlights. We got to spend time with Jack and S's friends, I just couldn't believe that after all this time, I was holding this baby that could be my son. To them, he already was, but to us....we had to make it to the signing day, and still talk to K and make sure she was absolutely firm in her decision.

The rest of the day, we spent with K, and some of it with Jack. That night we took K out to dinner and to a movie and by the time we dropped her off at home it was 11p at night. We drove to the hotel in complete silence, each of us lost in our own thoughts. Sitting in the parking lot, I said to John, ok...what is your gut? Are you ready to adopt him? He turns to me and says.....No...You? and I said Yes. He kinda just looked at me and I said, it's a Yes with a disclaimer. I said: I'm terrified of the whole thing. You can think, breath, pray, hope for adoption and when that baby is in your arms, suddenly the reality hits. Can I do this? Can I manage an open adoption? I didn't love him the second I held him, is that wrong? I had room full of strangers staring at me and he was so tiny and I just didn't feel immediately that he was my son. I scared it's going to fail, I'm scared that I this other family will forever be integrated in our lives, I'm just overwhelmed but I truly believe this baby was meant to be ours. John looked at me and said that I spoke everything on his heart and that as look as we were in it together we'd be fine. It didn't hit me till later in bed with the lights off what that truly meant. I sat straight up in bed and asked: Does that mean we are moving forward? Jack is going to be our son? And like a typical male, John rolled over and said Yes - we already decided that. I burst into tears and starting jumping up and down on the bed.....we were finally going to be a family.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The week that changed our life

So after the initial phone call with S on a Thursday in the freezing cold at O'hare aiport, I hadn't heard from them by Sat. I decided to call and got K on the phone, S wasn't home and K said that she would call me back. At this point I was feeling like this was all the other situations we had been in and that nothing would come of it. But we were used to running down every lead. On Sunday, I was at work (at my church) and I started silently praying about it. Our last situation, the potential mother had told me I was too pushy (me!?) - when I thought I truly been just counseling and helping her. Needless to say I was a bit gun shy to come off as too aggressive. As I was working and praying though, my heart just told me to try and call again. This time S answered and I apologized for calling to much. She said to me: "you call all you want, you are interested in adopting my grandson! If you didn't call you'd be off our list!" Whew. That phone call turned into a two hour marathon conversation with S and K.

It was amazing and by the end of it we had made a plan for John and I to drive 7 hours the following weekend to meet them. After talking to many many families, they told us at this point they were meeting us and another family. Truth be told - I was jaded and kept telling myself, go through the motions so you don't regret it but don't get your hopes up. They told me to call again any time or they would call early in the week.

On Monday, John was off from work and he answered the phone when S called to talk. They ended up talking for over an hour as well and they too got along great! The plan was still in place and we were cautiously talking about this baby boy and could he maybe be our son?

Tuesday: I was out scouting a location for a movie that I was helping to produce with my friend who had written the screenplay and was the Executive Producer. After a couple of years in the making we were getting ready to shoot in a couple of weeks. I had just gone to the bathroom when John called me, here was the converstaion:

J: Where are you
D: in the bathroom
J: you need to sit down
D: i'm in the bathroom! (now at the sink)
J: you really need to sit down
D: what is it? just tell me, did something happen?
J: Shirley called....
D: Ok
J: She said that her and K had talked and that they weren't going to meet the other family. They said they want us to parent Jack. They picked us! They want us to adopt Jack!
D: What!? then stunned silence. Oh my God - come get me.

My friend C was in the bathroom with me and I was freaking out. I had to leave, S & K picked us but they wanted to talk to both or our mother's first. I have to go! We were jumping up and down in the bathroom of a local hotel. John came to get me and went on to explain that S wanted to talk to our mom's. She said you can tell a lot about a person by how their parents are. So off we went straight to my Mom's house. I was reminded of the last time we had drove to my Mom's to tell about a future baby. I was pregnant with the first baby we lost. It was amazing how far we had come.

Both our Mom's talked to S that day and it was so cool to see. Of course S loved them and they loved her and we finalized our plan to visit that weekend - only now as K & S said - we were going to meet "our son". It still seemed such a distant possibility and I was so terrified to have my heart broken again, but I had to trust them and trust God that this was the path we were meant to be on. We spoke to our attorney that week, and theirs. We set up a conference call with Jack's cardiologist to discuss his condition and prognosis and started to pack for our weekend in Ohio. The first thing John said was - we have to put the nursery back together! Where is everything?


Saturday, January 3, 2009

One Year Ago

It was about this time last year that I gave up all hope of ever having a baby. We had been "on profile" with our agency for over 14 months, lived through a failed match and had just found out that yet again we were not chosen. Our nursery had been complete and empty for almost a year, and when I got the call that once again we would not be parents I ripped apart our entire nursery, silently with a dear friend who showed up with coffee and asked no questions. She just worked with me side by side, my grief overtaking our space. I truly felt that day that perhaps we had gone down the wrong road and that parenthood was something that we would never have.

I booked a trip to Cancun with sister vowing to not think, talk, write, read, breath adoption. It had become all consuming and I just needed to let it go for awhile. We enjoyed three beautiful days in the sun at the end of January and on our last day while laying by the pool, I had a premonition. Something was happening at home on the adoption front but I tried not to think about it.

We landed in Chicago the next day and I checked my voicemail at home and there was a long message on there about a baby boy. What!?! I quickly paged my husband and asked him what this was all about. Apparently, my friend N had called the night before about an email she had received from her friend who knew we were trying to adopt. A woman had sent a mass email on behalf of her cousin in Ohio basically saying that they were looking for a family for a 7 week old baby boy with a heart condition and if anyone knew a potential adoptive family to have them call.

Well the call on the VM were all the details of the baby's birth family. I made the first phone call standing outside Ohare airport freezing to death and talked to S - the baby's birth grandmother. After a pretty quick conversation, answering some basic question - I told her that I would forward my profile and maybe we could talk again. After 14 months, and all the random situations we had been in that didn't work out, never in my wildest thoughts did I think this phone call would lead to our son......